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Several states in India witnessed a shortage of vaccine making them delay or slow down the vaccination drive for people aged between 18 and 44 years that started May 1 onwards. Punjab is one of the states that is yet to begin phase 3 of the vaccination drive, though phase 1 and phase for frontline and 45+ population is underway, reported the Indian Express. Here’s how vaccines reach the states and then distributed to the districts and why the supply ran out in few days.
How vaccines reach different states
In the initial 2 phases for frontline and healthcare workers and for population above 45, the doses, both Covaxin and Covishield were directly supplied to states free of cost. For Phase III for adults below 45, SII and Bharat Biotech supplied 50 per cent of their vaccine doses manufactures in a month to the Government of India and which the GoI will distribute it to state governments and private hospitals at costs under the new Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy. So both state government and private hospitals can buy the rest of 50 per cent of jabs manufactured from the manufacturers.
Liberalised pricing and accelerated national Covid-19 vaccine strategy
Under this strategy, both the vaccine manufacturers will give 50 per cent of its supply to the Central government and the other 50 per cent to the state government and private hospitals.
With the new pricing strategy, the jabs remain free at government facilities in all the states for all the population allowed vaccination. SII sells Covishield to Centre at Rs 150 per dose and to states at Rs 300 per dose. For Covaxin It is Rs 600 per dose for states. For procurement by private hospitals, it is even higher, Covishield Rs 600 and Covaxin Rs 1200. The policy, however, says the charge of vaccine at private hospitals will be monitored.
Vaccination for 18+ years in Punjab
Punjab has placed an order of 30 lakh Covishield doses but is yet to receive the first consignment of vaccines from SII. Some private hospitals like Fortis and Max in Mohali only have managed to start paid vaccination for 18+ with individual procurement. Meanwhile Punjab’s neighbours Haryana and Rajasthan have already started inoculating their 18+ population at government-run centres.
For May 1-15, Punjab has been allocated 6.15 lakh doses of which 3.75 lakh doses have been received so far to immunize 45+ beneficiaries. . According to the Centre’s data, around 40.61 lakh vaccine doses have been supplied to Punjab till date starting from January 18 out of which 38.97 lakh doses were utilized.
As of May 7, only 2187 beneficiaries in Phase III has received vaccines in Punjab. The data is mainly from private hospitals running paid vaccination drive.
How Centre allocated vaccines to states for 45+
The Government of India allocated states/UTs vaccines depending on their speed of administration of doses, average consumption and extent of spread of infection. Wastage of vaccine will be a deterrent for vaccine allocation. Based on this allocation will be determined and conveyed to the states in advance, second doses for all age groups will also get priority.
How districts get vaccines from state
Vaccines arrive in Punjab in consignments of a few lakhs at a go. They are then distributed to districts based on population, number of active cases. Few thousand reach different centres where they are utilized in a couple of days.
According to Dr Rajesh Bhaskar, nodal officer, Covid-19 Punjab, vaccines are supplied via air route when they come directly from SII< Pune or via road when they come from GoI warehouse in Karnal.